Since the approval ratings keep getting lower for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Americans wonder whether all is well between the nation’s top leaders. When comparing the number of public appearances Harris made alongside Biden, the percentage has decreased since the beginning of his presidential term.
Although it’s possible that the president and vice president are simply dividing up responsibilities in order to have maximum impact, members of the media, including panelists on Fox News The Five, speculated about whether they're at odds with each other. Whether there's a White House rift between Biden and Harris is uncertain.
Is there a rift between Biden and Harris?
Obviously, Biden and Harris were political opponents in the Democratic presidential primary election, which might contribute to the idea of a rift in the current White House. In May, Fox News reported on a new book by Edward Dovere that claimed instances of Biden and his wife being at odds with Harris early in the 2020 campaign.
In an early debate, Harris referenced comments made by Biden about Senate segregationists in which he seemed to view them with civility. Harris said two days after the debate in question, “If the people he was talking about with such affection had their way, I would never have been able to be a United States senator.”
Although Harris said she didn't see Biden as a racist, according to the book, both Joe and Jill Biden responded critically of her for even broaching the issue.
Currently, rumors of the so-called rift between Biden and Harris seem to stem from their lack of joint public appearances in recent months. Fox News anchors also discussed the issue in October.
Host Dana Perino stated that it wasn't clear whether the apparent distance between Harris and Biden was due to Harris’s attempt to distance herself from Biden due to declining approval ratings or due to Biden harboring dislike or distrust of Harris.
An anonymous former Harris adviser told The Los Angeles Times that he thought Harris perhaps hadn’t been given particularly important agendas due to a lack of trust from President Biden.
Biden and Harris have fewer joint appearances
In late October, The Los Angeles Times reported on the statistics of joint and individual appearances by the president and vice president. Only about one-fifth of Harris’s public activities in September and October were joint appearances with Biden compared to about three-quarters of January and February events in the early days of Biden's term.
White House officials have stated that Biden's and Harris's schedules depend on the needs of the administration. A focus on gaining approval for the Biden administration’s agenda has led to the two splitting up to address different groups simultaneously, often in different states.
Sabrina Singh, a spokesperson for Harris, said, “The vice president keeps a busy schedule doing the work of the administration and always in support of the president.”
A spokesman for Biden, Andrew Bates, noted that many factors determine the administration’s schedules, and often the president and vice president must appear separately to increase efficiency. The Los Angeles Times also reported him as saying, “They have a partnership in the mold of the Obama-Biden relationship.”